What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the ranking and increasing the visibility of a website in a search engine’s natural (organic) search results. This is different from Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which is paying for your website to rank on the first page for prescribed keywords.

SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories:

White Hat

These are techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design and produce meaningful search results for consumers. These techniques include keyword rich copy, hyperlinks and user-friendly navigation. These techniques are Google-compliant and produce results based on relevance.

Black Hat

These are techniques that are designed to ‘game the system’ in the hope of producing a high page rank regardless of the search term. These techniques include link stuffing, keyword cloaking and hidden pages. These techniques are illegal/non-Google compliant and will result in the offending website being black-listed by Google – meaning your website would be lucky to be found on page *9,376 on your preferred search terms.

* Not an actual statistic but indicative of the severity of the punishment meted out by Google

Contributor:

Michael Field, Managing Director for Michael Field Pty Ltd.

Is the hype over the new Apple iPhone 5s and 5c worth it?

iphone 5c

Hype marketing has been around for quite some time, but no one has been as successful at it in recent times as Apple.

Traditionally, hype marketing conjures images of a product which seems: too good to be true, is in limited supply, is on sale for a limited time or is somehow exclusive (but wait, there’s more!).

It seems that in today’s demanding marketplace, this no longer works – or does it? Is hype marketing working as well as it should?

Look at what happened last Friday – the release of the new iPhone 5s, 5c and the wiz bang new operating system iOS7.

There was plenty of hype – Apple’s launch describes a product that in many ways seems too good to be true. The new phone models are available in many colours, but already in Australia the demand for “gold” phones has far exceeded supply. And as far as exclusivity – iOS7 is only available for use on Apple products.

As expected, there has been plenty of hype: product launch, plenty of media speculation and, of course, Friday’s intense media saturation over the launch.

Apple used to do hype extremely well – it kept tight secrets about the product. However, this release has been deemed newsworthy for at least the last 4 weeks (so much for secrets). More importantly, it seems that the innovation that should be associated with the hype has failed to materialise. New features include a fingerprint scanner to improve security, new colours, a cheaper model (some say that’s what the “c” stands for in 5c – cheap), and a new operating system. As far as I can tell there is no real difference in screen size, battery life or overall performance. These would seem to be top of my list when thinking about buying a new phone, yet Apple seems to have ignored these items.

The main drawcard is the new operating system – it has over 200 new features creating a quicker, easier system to use. However, you don’t have to the latest phone to upgrade to this system. Phones as old as the iPhone 4 will be able to download the new iOS7, lowering demand for the new models.

So, is Apple losing its touch when it comes to Hype marketing?

Contributor:

Susan Botterill, General Manager for Michael Field Pty Ltd.

 

Is Apple losing the plot?

My first Apple product was an LCII, which I purchased second-hand in the early ’90′s. For those of you who don’t know what an LCII is, check here.

The LC’s were affectionately referred to as ‘pizza boxes’ with a 10MB RAM limit – no matter how much memory was installed.

At the time, my brother was working in multimedia design for a large, global property development firm. He convinced me of the benefits of buying an Apple product and overcame my objections to the comparatively high price of the product at the time.

I have been considered as somewhat of an Apple ‘fanboy’ since that time and over the years have convinced many people to move over to Apple. I even bought my wife a MacBook as a wedding present. (Such a romantic, right?)

What I have always loved about Apple (apart from the elegant design and intuitive user interface) is the helpfulness of the Apple community – starting with the friendly, informed and helpful people at the Apple store.

That was then – this is now.

Fast forward to 2013. I now run a small consulting business, creative agency and PR firm. We are entirely a ‘Mac shop’ – operating on mac servers, iMacs, MacBook’s, iPads and iPhones. We are entirely dependent on the Mac ecosystem, and it appears a large portion of the rest of the world has caught up!

It is now passe to comment on the number of iPhones, iPads and earpods you see at the gym or on the bus. Everyone is wired in and the Apple symbol is ubiquitous. But has Apple kept up to its brand promise of elegant design, intuitive user interface and a friendly, helpful community of Apple fans and staff willing to help at the drop of an app? I don’t think so…

Apple is falling behind. And they risk losing the confidence of their greatest supporters; the early adopters and fanboys who have always backed them and given them the benefit of the doubt.

The list of failures is getting too long and the speed of recovery too clumsy and amateurish.

As an example, I am still using an iPhone 4 and have no desire to upgrade to the iPhone 5 as the benefits don’t seem worth it. The problem is though that the iPhone 4 is failing miserably. The battery life is awful, the home key barely works and the phone simply shuts down for a rest whenever the strains of modern life get too much for it!

Will they recover? I don’t know, but for the first time in 20 years I am considering buying something other than an Apple.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.